By Wallace Mawire
Zimbabwe has been included in the Global Partnership for Education approved grants totaling nearly US$110 million to support efforts by Bhutan, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Cote d’Ivoire, Tanzania, Kenya, Somaliland, Puntland to strengthen their education systems and make quality schooling available to more children.
With these new grants, GPE, which partners with close to 70 developing countries across the globe, has approved more than US$312 million in funding in 2019. Moreover, new grant applications totaling US$220 million were received in the last quarterly round of grant proposals this year, demonstrating a clear acceleration of funds allocated by GPE during this third replenishment period spanning 2018 to 2020.
“As GPE partner countries continue to invest more of their domestic resources in education, external financing is also critical to their success,” said Julia Gillard, Chair of the Global Partnership for Education’s Board of Directors. “These new grants will help drive real and important progress, including getting more children in school – especially girls and children from disadvantaged communities – and ensuring that the quality of the schooling they receive gives them what they need to learn and grow.”
“We are very pleased to deepen GPE’s relationship with Bhutan, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya, Puntland, Somaliland, Tanzania and Zimbabwe, partners that are engaged in the hard work of strengthening their education systems,” said Alice Albright, Chief Executive Officer of the Global Partnership for Education. “We are working hard to move faster in our grant process to ensure that our partner countries get the resources they need. With GPE’s help, they are recruiting and training more teachers, enabling more girls and children with disabilities to get schooling, developing better learning materials and much more.”
GPE has approved US$700,000 to Bhutan as additional financing of a previously allocated grant of US$1.8 million. The funding focuses on increasing enrollment in pre-primary education and developing a new learning assessment framework. Save the Children U.S. is the grant agent overseeing the three-year, five-month funding.
Burkina Faso, a GPE partner since 2002, will receive a grant of US$21 million over four years. This funding is additional to the US$33.8 million grant approved in 2017. The US$14.84 million fixed portion of the funding will provide continued support through a multi-donor pooled fund for the country’s 2017-2030 strategy to increase the number of children with access to education, invest more in education infrastructure and teacher training, improve learning through enhanced teaching and learning materials and strengthen government management of the education system. The US$6.36 million results-based portion of the grant aims to promote increases in primary school enrollment in six regions, more efficient operational spending within the education system and a higher reading and numeracy performance in early grades. GPE’s grant agent in Burkina Faso is Agence Française de Développement.
Over the next three years Cabo Verde will receive US$1.1 million as additional financing of a US$1.4 million grant approved previously. The funding will support inclusion and equity in education, with a focus on children with special needs. It will also complement and strengthen the existing GPE grant by further supporting improvements in education system management, teacher training, learning evaluation and collection and analysis of education data. UNICEF is the grant agent in Cabo Verde, which became a GPE partner in 2018.
The GPE Board agreed a US$28 million additional financing to Cote d’Ivoire. The US$19.6 million fixed portion of the funding, available over nearly four years, will be devoted to community-based preschool education in rural areas, the building of new primary school buildings in those areas and “bridging classes” for older children who have missed primary schooling. The US$8.4 million results-based portion of the grant centers on increasing enrollments in preschool, the number of hours of lower secondary teachers and students’ performance on reading and math tests in third and fourth grades. The World Bank will administer the grant in Cote d’Ivoire, a GPE partner since 2010.
Kenya, which has made substantial progress towards achieving gender equity in its schools and increasing primary completion rates, has been a GPE partner since 2005. This latest GPE grant of US$9.7 million for two years supplements existing efforts to improve early-grade math proficiency, and strengthen education management, accountability and reforming education data management systems. The US$3 million results-based portion of the grant is keyed to achieving results in early education, extending educational opportunities to learners with special needs and disabilities, and schools’ compliance with new administrative guidelines to strengthen efficiency. The World Bank is the grant agent for this grant.
Within Somalia, Puntland will receive a GPE grant of US$8.83 million over four years to support activities aimed at improving teaching quality – and, thus, children’s learning outcomes. Puntland will apply the funding to the rehabilitation of a teachers’ college and other professional development resources, as well as to the creation and implementation of a teachers’ profession test and to monitoring and verification of quality of teaching and learning outcomes. The grant also focuses on enrolling and keeping more of the state’s most socially excluded children in school. The new grant is additional financing on top of a previous GPE grant. UNICEF is the grant agent.
Further, GPE has approved a three-year grant of more than US$12 million to Somaliland, also a semi-autonomous state within Somalia, to increase primary school enrollment, especially among girls, boost the quality of schooling in order to achieve higher learning results, promote safe, gender-sensitive learning environments, improve administration and data management, and strengthen disaster and emergency preparedness. GPE will also accelerate the availability of more than US$3 million to support emergency responses to Somaliland’s drought-affected schools and increase the share of girls enrolling in school. Save the Children – U.S. is GPE’s grant agent in Somaliland.
Tanzania, a GPE partner since 2013, will receive US$22.5 million in additional financing over a three-and-a-half year period. This expands on components of a grant approved earlier this year aimed at improving the quality of pre-primary, primary and non-formal education by strengthening teacher training and professional development, distributing more quality teaching and learning materials to underserved areas and improving planning and management in education. The results-based portion of the grant is dependent upon Tanzania’s meeting targets such as timely distribution of funding to local schools, increase in the number of girls who transition from primary to secondary school, and higher student retention and reading rates. The Swedisn International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) oversees the GPE grant in Tanzania.
An additional financing of US$2.8 million will enable Zimbabwe, a GPE partner since 2013, to expand access to school improvement grants and help the country carry out an assessment to inform an upcoming new long-term education plan. UNICEF is GPE’s grant agent in Zimbabwe.